4. STATUS REPORT ON ANNUAL MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT FOR RELEASES AND DIVERSIONS FROM SAN CLEMENTE RESERVOIR
Meeting Date: June 16, 2003 Budgeted: N/A
General Counsel: N/A
Committee Recommendation: N/A
CEQA Compliance: N/A
State Agency Review: Proposed 2003 MOA is under review by the California Department of Fish and Game. The proposed terms and conditions regarding pumping in upper Carmel Valley are not consistent with SWRCB WR Order Nos. 95-10 and 98-04.
ESA Compliance: Proposed 2003 MOA is consistent with Conservation Agreement between the National Marine Fisheries Service and California-American Water Company.
SUMMARY: Representatives from the District, California-American Water Company (Cal-Am), the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) office in Monterey, and the NOAA Fisheries office in Santa Rosa met on April 30, 2003, to negotiate the terms and conditions for the 2003 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The group agreed with most of the terms and conditions proposed by Cal-Am, but CDFG and District representatives believe that the provision allowing Cal-Am to pump upper Carmel Valley wells, without first maximizing production from the lower Carmel Valley is inconsistent with Condition No. 5 of SWRCB Order Nos. 95-10 and 98-04. Negotiations are continuing on resolution of this issue. In the meantime, Cal-Am is producing water from its upper valley wells, until streamflow declines below 20 cubic feet per second for five days at the Don Juan Bridge in Garland Park, consistent with the Conservation Agreement between Cal-Am and NOAA Fisheries.
RECOMMENDATION: District staff recommends that negotiations continue on terms and conditions of the 2003 MOA and would recommend approval, if it were modified to be consistent with SWRCB Order Nos. 95-10 and 98-04.
BACKGROUND: To specify minimum instream flow standards for the Carmel River below San Clemente Dam during the low-flow period (i.e., May through December), the District annually enters into an agreement with Cal-Am and CDFG. In general, the MOA specifies the minimum release that must be maintained from San Clemente Reservoir to the Carmel River and the maximum diversion that is allowed from San Clemente Reservoir to Cal-Am's Carmel Valley Filter Plant (CVFP). Since 1993, the regulation of Cal-Am’s Carmel Valley well production has been included in the MOA. This change is consistent with testimony and recommendations from District and CDFG experts at the SWRCB hearings in 1992 and 1994, and Condition 5 of the SWRCB Order 95-10, as modified by Condition No. 3 of Order WR 98-04. As amended, Condition No. 5 reads:
To the maximum extent feasible without inducing sea water intrusion or unreasonably affecting the operation of other wells, Cal-Am shall satisfy the water demands of its customers by extracting water from its most downstream wells.
Historically, the terms and conditions placed on Cal-Am production for the annual MOA have included a maintenance pumping schedule and constraints on upper valley well production. The goal of this regulation is to limit the impact of Cal-Am production on aquatic habitats in the upper valley and to maximize the length and extent of viable instream habitats for juvenile steelhead.
For the 2002 MOA and now with the proposed 2003 MOA, Cal-Am has proposed the following footnote for maintenance pumping schedule for their wells in the upper Carmel Valley:
*During normal operating flow periods (> 20 cfs for 5 consecutive days at the San[sic] Juan gauging station), the Company may pump any of the above wells. During low flows (< 20 cfs for 5 consecutive days at the San[sic] Juan gauging station) or non-usage, the above schedule will be utilized.
A key issue for consideration is how Cal-Am will divert water from the alluvial reaches of the Carmel Valley during the fall and winter period. With the proposed footnote, Cal-Am could shift production to the upper valley, whenever flow exceeded 20 cfs for 5 consecutive days, even in situations where no flow was extant in the lower river. District and CDFG staffs believe this potential shift has direct impacts on juvenile steelhead habitats by reducing available living space and limiting food production. It is counter to the goal of minimizing and mitigating the effects of existing diversions.
As an alternative, District staff recommended the following language to substitute for the original footnote:
“During “high flow” periods (> 80 cfs at the Don Juan gaging station), the Company may pump any of the above wells. During “medium flow” periods (20 cfs < Q < 80 cfs) at the Don Juan gaging station), the Company may pump the above wells, provided that water demand is first satisfied to the maximum extent feasible by extracting water from the wells downstream in AQ3 and AQ4. During the “low flow” period (< 20 cfs for 5 consecutive days at the Don Juan gauging station), the above maintenance schedule will be utilized.”
This modification will meet the intent of Condition 5, which is to maximize aquatic habitat above Cal-Am’s diversions, while at the same time providing Cal-Am flexibility in diverting water during “high flow” periods during spring, early summer and fall. To date, CDFG has agreed with this language, but the District has not received concurrence from Cal-Am.
The recommended cutoff flow for defining “medium flow” conditions in the upper Carmel Valley, i.e., 80 cfs, is based on the bypass flow recommendations for this reach that were made by NOAA Fisheries in June 2002 report, Instream Flow Needs for Steelhead in the Carmel River.
 Original Footnote from California-American Water Company, Maintenance and Water Quality Pumping Schedule 2003